With age comes wisdom, and wisdom teeth! And similar to our body, our mouth also goes through a few changes as we grow and develop. One such change is the appearance of the third set of molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth. Although they don’t necessarily make us wiser, wisdom teeth need special attention as we consistently practice good oral care.
To Keep or Not To Keep Wisdom Teeth? That is the Question
Most of us get our wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 21. However, some people may get them as early as 14 or as late as 30 years of age. Also, most people give wisdom teeth a bad rap because they primarily associate them with tooth extractions. In truth, many people DO have wisdom tooth extractions because of dental impaction and other problems they face as these teeth try to grow in. Many times, we cannot properly care for these teeth because of their awkward positioning in the oral cavity.
Are Dental Extractions Always Necessary?
In short, no! If your wisdom teeth are not causing any problems and are growing normally, you can keep them. Believe it or not, there are a few rare breeds of folks out there who still have their wisdom teeth! But, whether you still have them, or you haven’t yet had an extraction, you must continue practicing good oral care.
Everyone must take good care of all their teeth with daily brushing and flossing, especially in those hard-to-reach places. Proper oral care ensures good overall oral health. If you have wisdom teeth, you’ll also want to continue attending routine oral exams to maintain oral health.
Why Is Oral Care for Wisdom Teeth So Difficult?
Cleaning and taking care of wisdom teeth isn’t as simple as it is for other teeth. And since their location is at the back of the mouth, they can also be difficult to reach. In turn, this could also mean you don’t always clean them properly, if at all.
When it comes to our third set of molars, another hard truth is that oftentimes, food particles find their way under the gum tissues. And if food remains trapped in our back teeth, it quickly turns into bacteria, disease, and bad breath without consistent oral care. Overall, this is why there is such difficulty associated with caring for wisdom teeth.
Threats to Our Oral Health
The mere location of wisdom teeth, their general emergence pattern, and the difficulty we experience when trying to clean them, make them predisposed to certain oral health problems. The most common issues include:
- Gum diseases
- Formation of a periodontal pocket
- Cavities and severe tooth decay
- Bone loss
When people choose not to practice good oral care, and/or if they use tobacco products, these factors further increase the chances of wisdom-tooth-related complications.
How to Ensure Good Oral Hygiene with Wisdom Teeth
For those of you lucky folks who get to keep your wisdom teeth, make sure to continue practicing a healthy oral care regimen. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day is crucial to your overall or health. Even if you one day have to have an extraction, at least the rest of your teeth will remain healthy and intact.
Healthy Oral Care Tips
Here are some simple, but useful tips for taking care of your wisdom teeth:
- Always brush along the gumline. This helps remove any debris that accumulates or traps itself along the edges of the gums.
- Follow brushing with flossing and make sure you also floss below the gum line on both sides of your wisdom teeth. This will help prevent plaque formation.
- Use a good-quality antibacterial mouth rinse to remove any remaining bacteria in the mouth. Research shows that using mouthwashes with essential oils are particularly useful in reducing harmful and odorous bacteria in the mouth.
- Water flossers have also proven to be effective in cleaning wisdom teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly and get your wisdom teeth professionally cleaned, whenever your dentist recommends.
What If I Still Need a Dental Extraction?
Follow these tips regularly and invest in good oral care products to keep your teeth in the best possible health. However, if there comes a time when you need a tooth extraction, connect with a professional oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They are dually-licensed dental physicians who know their way around wisdom teeth very well!
Do you live in or near the Greater Houston area? Connect with the expert oral physicians of OMSH if you’re having dental pain or issues associated with wisdom tooth problems. Freely give us a call at 713-804-6055.